Climbing up the main staircase, at the end of an afternoon spent
sparring with Rumil and Orophin, Eowyn stopped, one hand on the
rail, listening hard. The voice had been soft, no more than a
sigh upon the wind, and at first she thought she had imagined
no, it was real, and its owner was just behind her!
Eowyn spun round, automatically reaching for the hilt of her
sword, but there was no one else on the stairs.
Puzzled, she climbed to the top, and stepped onto the walkway.
To the right, her and Legolas chambers stood out from the
rest of the buildings, decked with pumpkin lanterns made by the
colonys schoolchildren to celebrate of the first night of
Gods! The voice had grown louder, and now seemedsomehowto
be coming from up ahead!
Eowyn hurried towards it, her hand on her sword. She could see
no oneNo one at all, she thought, no servants,
no guards; and where is Legolas? Why, tonight of all nights, has
he not come out to meet me?
Beyond the brightly grinning lanterns, the shadows seemed unnaturally
dark, and Eowyn was surprised to find herself trembling, but the
voice drew her on, past her chambers, and up the stairs to her
There, between the pools of light, she thought she saw a figure,
and asked, Who are you?
She was scarcely expecting a reply, but the voice responded,
Do you not recognise me, Eowyn?
He stepped closer, his already insubstantial form fading in the
lanterns glow, but Eowyn could still see his silhouette,
and she gasped. Are you lost? she whispered. Are
you here because you are not at peace?
I am with my ancestors.
Her hands came up to her breast, and she
smiled. Is your father there with you?
She wiped away a tear. I saw
it myself, once, for just a moment.
There was a smile in his voice, and Eowyn moved closer. If
you are at peace, why have you come?
Because, tonight, we are permitted to visit our loved
ones, if they light the way.
Light the way
You mean the lanterns?
She looked up at the grotesque faces, which Legolas himself had
taught the children to carve (because, he said, the first night
of Rhîw meant something to all the races of Eryn
Carantaur, and the colony should celebrate it). Do you have
a message for me? she asked. Oror is it a warning?
I just wanted to see you,his voice had
changed, become softer, more intimateto see what
my Shieldmaiden had become. And, strangely, his tenderness
made her blush.
Do you like what you see?
You are so much wiser, Eowyn, and stronger, and even
more beautiful. You were a girl then, and now you are a woman.
Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. I am happy,
she told him, because she knew that he had loved her, and because
they had once believed that their futures lay together.
He is the luckiest of beings. But,his
voice began to fade, its echo growing longerhe
loves you, Eowyn, and will always love you, and will never take
you for granted.
Wait! she cried, rushing towards him, because
he was leaving her, every moment growing less and less distinct.
I want to tell youwaitI loved youI
did not know it then, but I didplease!I would
have made you a good wifeI would
But he was gone.